We have three Christmas trees this year.
Our main living room tree in its usual corner spot, wedged in with a rocking chair and a few cat beds to avoid feline fiascos. It has lights and cat-friendly ornaments. It is lovely. I could watch the lights for hours. Of course, we put no gifts out and no other decor because cats … they like to take turns curling up on the tree skirt. I have this vision of soft personalized cat trees lined up with them gently snoring and cuddling and being their inside best selves. Or something.
A friend gifted us with a cute little rainbow tree. The “leaves’ are plastic so we couldn’t put in the house. We found the perfect spot on our front stoop. I zip tied that little mother to our railing, added some battery operated lights, and put Santa hats on the skeleton cat and owl still perched from Halloween. Voila!
And then there’s the tree at Fort Faulsey, our community cat colony. Laura bought a fir tree in a pot that can eventually be transplanted onto her mother’s farm. We wedged it into the pallet holding up some of the shelters. I added battery power lights and one of those net light throws over the straw fort. Then we hung stockings for the cat on the back of the garage. Our niblings made ornaments from cat friendly felt. Voila! Community cat Christmas.
The trail cam catches some great moments of the various cats looking at or sniffing the tree. They are unfazed by the lights. The stockings are hung a little high for them to become distractions. I have to put up a few more to account for all 20 of the colony members.
After I do my daily cat colony tasks, I sit on a bale of straw next to the tree and just watch. Granted, I lace the ground with cat treats to draw them out. No one comes near me, but they know I’m there. They look at me and watch my movements. It gives me a better chance of trapping the new kids.
And it is just pretty – a bit of holiday cheer in a dark corner of the Northside that’s close to home.
If I had a wish besides finding homes for all of these cats, I’d wish that Santa Claws would bring the cats gifts and put them under the tree – food and treats and beds and toys. Obviously, no one in their right mind would put a bag of food in wrapping paper and ribbons under an outdoor tree at a cat colony. But they might find a way. Perhaps to drop off 20 packets of treats in a sturdy box. Or bring gently used cat toys that would be cool outside. Or a few cases of canned food wrapped in plastic. Or notes and cards for the cats from neighbors tucked near the tree.
These animals didn’t ask for an outdoor life, but they are part of our community. Taking care of them is important for everyone’s welfare. Taking a moment to appreciate what they bring to us is equally important.
How To Help
If you’d like to support Community Cats and the Caretakers who keep them safe and secure, we have a few options
Donate to our #SantaClaws project (through December 31, 2021)
Adopt a colony caretaker and send them food for January via their online wishlist.
Leave a gift at the colony. Please make sure it is wrapped to be outside and near cats. Leave a note whom its for and we’ll deliver.
Order 20 bags of cat treats from local pet food purveyor Wagsburgh on East Ohio Street.
You can chip in financially via
Bring gift cards for the caretakers to my house and slip them under my rainbow tree, thus tying together two of the three trees listed in this post. My house address is 1439 W. North Avenue Pgh 15233. Sturdy locked front door and lots of cameras, but you can’t miss it – it’s blue, custom painted by artist Jason Sauer.
Feel free to stop by Fort Faulsey and enjoy the show. Please don’t disturb the cats who will be hiding from you. Say Happy Holidays to them.
And Happy Holidays to you, too.
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